12th Oct 2022

What do People Want from Their Office?

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People are more engaged and productive if they actually like their office – it’s that simple.

Our friends over at Steelcase have reported on what people really want from their office in the age of hybrid working – a question that most employers should want to know the answer to.

In their report, they surveyed nearly 5,000 workers in 11 countries. Results showed that a whopping 70 percent think having their own dedicated space to work in at home was a big attraction when it comes to hybrid and remote working.

So why bother with an office?

People are more engaged and productive if they actually like their office – it’s that simple. It gives people more of a connection to their organisation’s culture and they’re more likely to stay with you – good for staff retention.

The study showed that people are willing to compromise on certain aspects of working from home if they think it’s worth it. For example, they’re willing to go into the office if they have the option of private spaces to use. This is particularly important for video calls and remote collaboration. Of course, this calls for good sound design too.

Each workplace and the teams within them will have different needs unique to them. But let’s look at the top things that Steelcase’s research found people want from an office.

To feel heard

Listening to your team’s needs is one of the most important aspects if you’re looking to do an office fit-out or a refurb. Or in any situation for that matter! We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – your people are your most valuable asset.

If you can ask your team what they want in the office, and communicate how you’ve listened to or actioned their feedback, they’ll be much more likely to use the space. People could be spending 40 hours a week in the office, so it’s important to allow them to have a say in their working environment. 

To have more privacy

As we mentioned already, privacy is important to people. When it came to what they value most in the office, 62 percent of people said single-person enclaves for video calls, and 61 percent wanted access to private spaces. This was one of the things that people said they’d trade remote workdays for. More privacy, control and comfort in the office.

Collaboration and community

While workers appreciate the flexibility and autonomy of hybrid work, they also look for a sense of workplace community and belonging. Collaboration is an essential part of day-to-day life for the majority of workers, so having designated spaces for this can boost productivity and morale.

Not only this, but having more spaces for colleagues to bond and chill out away from their screens facilitates unplanned interactions that can often spark the best ideas. It gives people a chance to chat in a more casual setting, and can also encourage a workplace culture that promotes downtime in the workplace. Something that can be great for general employee satisfaction and wellbeing.

Controlled sound

Boiling kettles, keyboards rattling, and crisp packets scrunching can be a little distracting while in the office. A study conducted by Poly found that 36 percent of workers said noise caused a loss of up to an hour of work every day. We all know that sound travels, particularly in an open-plan office – but there are ways you can mitigate this. Invest in good sound design – it can make a world of difference! Acoustic pods, materials, seating and screens can vastly improve the acoustics in the office, reducing the sound of travelling office chatter, and reducing distraction.


Office design plays a huge role in our wellbeing. If the physical atmosphere is comfortable, provides light and greenery, and spaces to think, then this can promote creativity and a positive mindset. The use of sustainable, eco-friendly materials and greenery within the office can make a big difference to this too.

Backing up your wellbeing-focused office design should be a wellbeing strategy. This means more than simply allowing your staff to take a mental health day. It should be an in-depth look at your business culture and the way you treat your staff. It’s finding out (by asking, not assuming) how staff feel about their work, colleagues, environment and the expectations placed on them. Showing that you’ve listened by implementing changes and giving feedback is just as important as the ‘asking’ part.

Do you know what your people want from your office?

Talk to us! We can help with workplace consultancy and feasibility studies to help you discover what your people need to be happy and productive at work. We can provide you with a workplace that exceeds expectations and is future-proofed for your team’s needs.


Chloe Sproston

Creative Director